Gov Wolf Announces New Charter School Regulations (June 26, 2022)

On June 21, 2022, Governor ​Tom Wolf ​announced that new charter school regulations are ready for publication. According to the governor, those regulations would provide transparency, equity and accountability in implementation of the commonwealth’s Charter School Law (CSL). Previously, the governor vetoed, disapproved, and returned to the General Assembly ​a deficient concurrent resolution disapproving the regulations.

In his veto message, Governor Wolf said the concurrent resolution was procedurally deficient because the General Assembly failed to adhere to the timetable outlined in the Regulatory Review Act (RRA) for disapproving a concurrent resolution.

Additionally, Governor Wolf said the final-form regulation is essential as “a critical step forward in increasing transparency, equity, quality, and accountability in the implementation of the outdated Charter School Law, which has not been significantly amended since its passage over 20 years ago.”

The regulations, developed by the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE), are said to clarify several elements of the state CSL to align public charter school operations and oversight with that of traditional public schools. The regulations were approved in March by the Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) and have been sent to the Legislative Reference Bureau (LRB) for publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.

According to a press release, the regulations:
-Provide clear application requirements for entities seeking to open a charter school, regional charter school, and cyber charter school;
-Ensure that all Pennsylvania students are able to access charter schools;
-Clarify the ethics requirements for charter and cyber charter school trustees;
-Require school districts and charter schools to follow the same fiscal management and auditing standards;
-Streamline the process for charter schools to request tuition payments from school districts and the state; and
-Provide a consistent, common-sense method for charter schools to meet the employee health care requirements in state law.

PDE began developing the regulations in August 2019. Nearly 2,000 comments from charter schools, school districts, professional organizations, lawmakers, and the public were considered as part of the process.

Click to view Gov. Wolf’s House Concurrent Regulatory Review Resolution 1 veto message.